If you run a busy WordPress site, keeping track of all your upcoming content can be a pain, especially if you work with multiple authors.
If you want to make it less of a pain and streamline your processes, you need some type of editorial calendar to help you stay on track.
In our PublishPress review, we’ll take a look at a freemium plugin that can help you manage your content efforts from inside your WordPress dashboard.
You’ll be able to view everything on a calendar, add editorial comments, set up notifications, create custom post statuses, and more.
I’ll start by sharing everything that PublishPress can do. Then, I’ll take you hands-on and show you how it works.
PublishPress Review: Exploring the Features
At a high level, PublishPress helps you manage the entire editorial process on your WordPress site.
To help you do that, you get the following features:
- Calendar – see all your upcoming content on a calendar view.
- Notifications – set up email notifications for specific actions, like a post changing statuses.
- Custom Post Statuses – add more post statuses to better organize your content.
- Metadata – add extra metadata in the WordPress editor, like a content brief or due dates for various drafts.
There are also free and premium add-ons for:
- Content Checklist – create a checklist that must be met before publishing content.
- Multiple authors – assign multiple authors to a single post.
- Reminders – automatically send reminders before or after publishing content.
- Permissions – get more control over who can publish content.
- Slack Notifications – receive notifications via Slack instead of just email.
Finally, while most people will probably use PublishPress for blog posts, it’s important to remember that you can actually use it for any post type, which opens up some interesting use cases. For example:
- WooCommerce products
- Job posts
I think the free version alone should work for most sites, which is obviously a great deal.
If you want access to additional features, you’ll need to purchase one of the Pro plans, all of which include every single pro add-on and feature.
You have three options:
- One site – $79
- Five sites – $139
- Unlimited sites – $199
How to Use PublishPress
For most of this hands-on section, I’m going to use the free version of PublishPress from WordPress.org. However, at the end of the post, I’ll install the premium version and some of the add-ons to briefly show you how they work.
When you activate PublishPress, it starts working right away, so let’s jump straight into the calendar.
PublishPress Editorial Calendar and List
To access the calendar, you go to PublishPress → Calendar. Here, you’ll see exactly what you’d expect – a calendar view of all your published and upcoming content for the month:
You can also use the filter options at the top to filter by:
- Post status (e.g. “In Progress” vs “Scheduled)
- Category (the actual categories that you set in the WordPress editor)
- Post type (e.g. “Posts” vs “Pages” or other custom post types, like WooCommerce products)
If you click on a post on the calendar, you’ll see more details about it, like the author and associated categories. You’ll also get quick options to:
- Edit the post
- Trash the post
- Preview the post on the front-end
- Start receiving notifications for the post (more on those later)
You can also click on any day on the calendar to quickly create a new post. You’ll be able to set up the:
- Post type
- Basic content (maybe some quick thoughts – you’ll obviously need to use the full editor to add all of your content)
If you look at the top-right corner, you’ll also get an option to subscribe to your editorial calendar in iCal or Google Calendar.
If you prefer a different approach, you can also go to PublishPress → Content Overview to see a list of all your upcoming content broken up by category.
By default, this list shows all upcoming content in the next ten days, but you can change this to preview any period of time. You’ll also get filters to filter out posts by status, category, or author:
Above, you saw how PublishPress lets you stay on top of your upcoming content from your WordPress dashboard. But what about keeping track of things when you’re not logged in to WordPress?
For that, you can use notifications.
With notifications, you can set up custom alerts for very specific actions, like a new blog post being published.
To view and configure notifications, you can go to PublishPress → Notifications. At first, you’ll see a list of all your active notifications. Then, to create a new one, you can click Add New:
In the Add New Notification interface, you’ll be able to choose:
- What conditions trigger the notification. The free version lets you set up notifications for new editorial comments or status changes, while the Pro extensions add new triggers, like new post revisions.
- Which types of content trigger the notification. For example, a specific post type and/or category (or other taxonomy).
- Who to notify. For example, the site admin or the author of the post. You’ll also be able to add notification recipients on a post-by-post basis.
Below that, you can configure the notification message itself.
You’ll also get a number of merge tags that let you dynamically insert information, like a link to the piece of content:
With the free version, these notifications come in the form of emails. However, with the paid version, you can also set up Slack notifications.
You’ll also be able to view a log of notifications from inside your WordPress dashboard.
New Settings in the WordPress Editor
Now, let’s switch gears from the PublishPress interface into some new options in the WordPress editor.
While the calendar views and notifications help you manage your editorial efforts as a whole, you also get a bunch of new options in the WordPress editor to manage individual pieces of content.
First, PublishPress adds new options to the native Post Status feature. With the default feature, you get basic statuses like “Draft” and “Pending Review”. PublishPress adds a number of new status options for:
- In Progress
- Privately Published
You can also add your own custom statuses from the plugin’s settings.
Then, you’ll also get some new interface options.
First, you get two new options in the sidebar:
- Notifications – manually assign users to receive notifications for just this post.
- Metadata – add basic information like a due date for the first draft and a content brief. You can create additional metadata fields from the plugin’s settings.
Then, you also get a new meta box underneath the content area where you can add editorial comments:
The Editorial Comments box is especially helpful if your editors and authors need to have a back-and-forth conversation about the piece.
Improved User Role Management
WordPress user roles are a native feature that help you manage what permissions each user has.
For example, an author does not need the ability to edit other users’ posts, but an editor does.
Again, this is a native WordPress feature, but PublishPress includes some features to give you more control over roles on your WordPress site.
First, you can assign multiple roles to each user, whereas WordPress only lets you assign one role by default.
You can also use the Roles area to create new roles and manage which users are assigned to all of your existing roles:
Other PublishPress Settings
Finally, you also get some generic settings in the PublishPress → Settings area.
In the General tab, you can set up some basic functioning for the features that you saw above. For example, you can:
- Blacklist certain taxonomies from receiving notifications
- Enable/disable editorial comments on certain post types
- Disable specific PublishPress features if desired
In the Calendar tab, you can choose which post types to include on your calendar.
The Metadata tab lets you add additional metadata fields beyond the two default fields for the first draft date and content brief.
Finally, the Statuses tab lets you edit the default statuses and/or add your own custom statuses to match your workflow.
And that’s how the free PublishPress plugin works!
Let’s finish things out with a quick peek at some of the add-ons and premium features.
PublishPress Premium Version + Add-Ons
With the premium version, you’ll get new options in the PublishPress settings to set up Slack notifications and automatic reminders.
With the Slack notifications, you can choose from two different themes and select a default notification channel:
You can also select how often to check for reminders from the Reminders tab.
Beyond that, there are a number of free and premium add-ons. The free versions are available at WordPress.org, while the premium version of PublishPress also includes the premium version of each add-on.
With the Checklists add-on, you can set up tasks and requirements that must be completed before a piece of content can be published:
These checklists will show up in the WordPress editor. If you mark checklist conditions as required, users will not be able to publish a piece of content until it meets those required conditions:
The Permissions add-on lets you control who can:
- Read content
- Edit content
You can also set up groups to manage access:
The Authors add-on lets you create authors without giving them a WordPress account, which is great for guest posts or other one-off posts:
You can also assign multiple authors to one content item.
Final Thoughts on PublishPress
If you’re looking for a WordPress plugin to manage your editorial processes, I think PublishPress makes a great option.
I found the interface to be a bit more polished than some other solutions and I think that it has all of the features that you need to effectively manage your WordPress site’s content.
Additionally, the free version (and add-ons) is quite generous with its functionality, so most webmasters will probably be fine with the free version at WordPress.org.
Finally, if you’re using Edit Flow (another editorial calendar plugin) but want to switch to PublishPress, the PublishPress developers even offer an import tool to help you move all of your data from Edit Flow to PublishPress.